Toledo Public Schools likely maintained its "continuous improvement" rating this past school year, according to a preliminary state report card, but overall test scores dropped slightly.
The Ohio Department of Education is to release officials results at the end of the month, but the preliminary results show the district's performance index score -- a weighted average of all test scores -- dropped to 81.4 in the 2011-12 school year from 83.1 in the 2010-11 year.
That score is good enough for a rating of continuous improvement -- the equivalent of a C -- but is a significant step backward for TPS.
The district had showed small but consistent gains in recent years on its performance index score; the recent results are as low as they've been since the 2008-09 school year.
The preliminary results don't include value-added ratings, a growth measurement.
TPS' attendance rate stayed mostly unchanged from past years, despite a decision this year not to withdraw habitually truant students, a practice from past years that is under investigation by the education department and state auditor.
The district did not make adequate yearly progress, according to the early results.
The results were not unexpected, Jim Gault, TPS' chief academic officer, said.
The last school year was one of major transitions, with the district's move away from elementary and middle schools to districtwide K8 buildings.
The format should build eventual stability, and TPS officials hope to improve scores at middle-school levels.
But the reformation of the district meant about 3,500 students at new schools, nearly 100 administrators in new positions, and about 300 teachers either new to the district or in new grade levels.
"We thought there would be a little bit of a transition," he said.
The numbers generally support Mr. Gault's position.
The district experienced increases, sometimes significant ones, in most test scores for seventh and eighth graders.
But scores in most elementary grades deteriorated, although for the most part by smaller levels.
District officials say they believe this coming year will be one of greater stability, with teachers and students more settled, and a new training regimen for teachers. They expect scores will improve.
"We believe this is the year the district makes a big leap forward," Mr. Gault said.
The preliminary report was released as TPS seeks a new tax levy.
The Toledo Board of Education recently voted to place a 4.9-mill, 10-year levy on the November general election ballot.